Taylor County Launches New Alternative for "Lights Off Program" for Offenders


ABILENE, TX –– With Halloween just days away, Taylor County has a new twist on the annual "Lights Out" program for registered sex offenders.

For years registered sex offenders have been instructed to have their lights off, not decorate, and avoid giving out candy to children. This year, offenders will be able to participate in an in-person event where they can avoid having  "incidental contact" with unaware children who may approach their homes on Halloween.

"When we got a new director in, he wanted to just bring them all here. So we can know everyone is safe. We know where everyone is at. Everyone is doing what they’re supposed to do," said probation officer Riki Flores. "Let’s come here, lock them up all night long in the building and make sure there’s no incidental contact because that’s the main point is to make sure there’s no incidental contact with children coming up to their homes knocking on their doors not knowing what door their knocking on and they’re having to answer the door and tell them ‘hey, I'm not participating.’ and so while they're here, we don’t have that problem.”

According to Flores, the program will bring approximately 130 sex offenders to the same place on Halloween. They will be provided coursework to keep them busy.

"We have a lot of people... A lot of men and women. This year we have about 120-125 sex offenders that are currently on supervision that it’ll be here that night. They’re a little anxious because they know everyone knows they’re going to be here. But I mean, it’s just another day," said Flores. 

Flores reminded the public that while the program will include a large number of offenders –– it does not mean every sex offender in the area will be participating.

"They think every sex offender in the surrounding area will be here that night and that’s kind of a misconception. Just the ones on probation," said Flores. "I looked up and it was about 500 that were actually in Taylor county that were registered sex offenders. And that’s in Coleman, Callahan ,and Taylor county. So there’s going to be more out there than what’s going to be here.”

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